1996 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
8-cyl. 350cid/285hp SFI
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
An 18-day strike about outsourcing idled 81,500 General Motors workers in March 1996, and continuing labor unrest curtailed GM’s annual auto production. Camaro deliveries were halved to 61,362 units, despite the addition of two models to the 1996 Camaro range.
The OBDII (on-board diagnostics) system was refined, much easier to read remotely, and increased the 350 cid LT1 V-8’s output to 285hp through two catalytic converters. The 200hp 231 cid V-6 was standardized for the base Coupe and available with a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Perhaps the biggest news for 1996 was, for the first time since 1972, a Camaro SS was available. The option package from SLP Engineering added 30hp to the LT1 engine, in part through functional hood scoop induction. The SS also had a restyled deck spoiler, revised suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels. 1996 Camaro SS colors were limited to White, Polo Green, Teal Black and Red. In all, 2,257 customers parted with $3,999 for one.
The base Coupe remained a steady seller with 31,528 buyers paying from $14,990, but the companion Convertible slumped in sales to just 2,994 at a hefty price of $21,270. Another new model – the Rally Sport (RS) – featured different front fascias and side ground-effects, but the public didn’t respond enthusiastically and only 8,091 buyers stepped up for a Coupe. The ’96 Camaro RS Convertible was even rarer, with only 905 takers. Sales of the Z28 dropped 50 percent with only 14,906 Coupes at $19,930, while the costly Z28 Convertible found only 2,938 buyers at $24,490.
The numbers of options plunged but continued to deal with comfort and convenience. Air conditioning was almost universal, followed by cruise control, fog lamps, power hatch, remote keyless entry and power door locks, windows and mirrors. Three-quarters of the cars (44,003) had automatic transmissions for an extra $790.
Performance packages continued to be offered to enthusiasts, but relatively few were ordered. The B4C Special Service (police) Package cost $3,369 with a 6-speed manual gearbox, $4,905 with an automatic transmission. Only 228 selective buyers ordered this excellent sleeper, which combined the base model with the Z28’s LT1 V-8, disc brakes, sport suspension, dual exhaust, Positraction and quick steering. A similar Y87 performance package offered similar equipment in combination with the 200hp V-6 engine and 8,734 buyers spent $400 for that. As before, the 1LE Track Car Special Performance Package was available for $1,175 and 55 hardcore buyers signed up.
Just 10 colors were offered for the 1996 Chevrolet Camaro, and seven were metallic finishes. The best seller was Bright Red (13,317), followed by Black (12,623), Arctic White (11,219), Polo Green Metallic (9,464), then a number of relatively unpopular metallic tones: Bright Teal Metallic (3,912), Sebring Silver Metallic (3,871), Quasar Blue Metallic (2,684), Dark Purple Metallic (2,291), Cayenne Red Metallic (1,294) and Mystic Teal Metallic (637).